Model Financial Policies and Procedures. February 2015

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1 Model February 2015

2 Finance and Planning Division Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Level 13, 8 Nicholson Street East Melbourne Victoria 3002 Australia Telephone: Note to agencies: This publication should only be used as a guide in developing policies and procedures applicable to your particular organisation. Agencies should carefully read the accompanying materials and delete, add to, or modify these policies and procedures as necessary to customise them for the structure and needs of the agencies business. Agencies should also refer to the Financial Management Act 1994 and Standing Directions for the Minister for Finance to ensure compliance. The State of Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning 2015 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence. You are free to re-use the work under that licence, on the condition that you credit the State of Victoria as author. The licence does not apply to any images, photographs or branding, including the Victorian Coat of Arms, the Victorian Government logo and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning logo. To view a copy of this licence, visit ISBN (print) ISBN (pdt) Accessibility If you would like to receive this publication in an alternative format, please telephone the DELWP Customer Service Centre on , or via the National Relay Service on This document is also available on the internet at Disclaimer This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.

3 Contents Foreword 3 Introduction Application and Compliance with Financial Management Compliance Framework 3 Standing Directions - Annual Compliance Certification 3 Responsibilities of the Board 3 Further Information 4 5 Financial Management Governance and Oversight Financial Code of Practice 5 Audit Policy (Audit Committee, Internal Audit and External Audit) 10 Financial Delegations Policy 17 Financial Management Structure and Systems Chart of Accounts Policy and Procedure 22 Managing Outsourced Financial Services Guidelines 25 Disaster Recovery Policy and Procedure 28 Financial Administration and Management Policies and Procedures Revenue - Accounts Receivable Policy and Procedure 32 Cash Handling Policy and Procedure 38 Cash Receipting Policy and Procedure 38 Petty Cash Policy and Procedure 43 Bank Accounts Policy and Procedure 48 Cash Flow Forecasting Policy and Procedure 52 Procurement Policy and Procedure 56 Expenditure Accounts Payable Policy and Procedure 63 Employee Costs Policy and Procedure 71 Physical and Intangible Assets Policy and Procedure 76 Liabilities, Contingent Assets and Contingent Liabilities Policy and Procedure 83 Reconciliations Policy and Procedure 88 Information Collection and Management Policy and Procedure 92 Financial Management Reporting Internal Financial Management Reporting Policy and Procedure 97 External Reporting Policy and Procedure 102 Purchasing Card Policy and Procedure 110 Thefts and Losses Policy and Procedure 116 Acronyms 124 Glossary 125 1

4 Appendices Financial Management Compliance Checklist 126 Appendix 1 User Guide Compliance Levels 127 Appendix 2 Financial Code of Practice Compliance Checklist 128 Appendix 3 Audit Compliance Checklist (Audit Committee, Internal Audit and External Audit) 130 Appendix 4 Financial Delegations Compliance Checklist 135 Appendix 5 Chart of Accounts Compliance Checklist 136 Appendix 6 Managing Outsourced Financial Services Compliance Checklist 137 Appendix 7 Information Technology Operations Compliance Checklist 138 Appendix 8 Revenue Accounts Receivable Compliance Checklist 139 Appendix 9 Cash Handling Compliance Checklist 140 Appendix 10 Bank Accounts Compliance Checklist 141 Appendix 11 Cash Flow Forecasting Compliance Checklist 142 Appendix 12 Procurement Compliance Checklist 143 Appendix 13 Expenditure Accounts Payable Compliance Checklist 144 Appendix 14 Employee Costs Compliance Checklist 145 Appendix 15 Physical and Intangible Assets Compliance Checklist 146 Appendix 16 Liabilities, Contingent Assets and Contingent Liabilities Compliance Checklist 147 Appendix 17 Reconciliations Compliance Checklist 148 Appendix 18 Information Collection and Management Compliance Checklist 149 Appendix 19 Internal Financial Management Reporting Compliance Checklist 150 Appendix 20 External Reporting Compliance Checklist 151 Appendix 21 Purchasing Card Compliance Checklist 154 Appendix 22 Thefts and Losses Compliance Checklist 155 Appendices Forms and Others 156 Appendix 23 Financial Delegations Register 157 Appendix 24 Financial Delegation and Signatory Authority Form 159 Appendix 25 Record of Purchase 160 Appendix 26 Purchasing Checklist 161 Appendix 27 Car Allowance Form 162 Appendix 28 Employee Reimbursement Form 163 Appendix 29 Purchasing Card Application Form 164 Appendix 30 Thefts and Losses Incident Report Form 165 Appendix 31 User Guide Areas and elements within a fraud risk profile 167 Appendix 32 Standing Directions not coverred by the Model 168 2

5 Foreword Introduction These model financial policies and procedures provide a framework for agencies to establish and maintain effective financial management to: uphold agencies Code of Conduct, core values, missions and strategic goals; meet the Government s requirements for accountability; promote effective financial management; provide Ministers (including Minister for Finance) with reasonable assurance that agencies have implemented appropriate systems to comply with the Financial Management Compliance Framework (FMCF); certify compliance with the Standing Directions for the Minister for Finance (Standing Directions), and assist agencies in identifying and documenting their financial compliance status. Application and Compliance with Financial Management Compliance Framework These model financial policies and procedures apply to all portfolio agencies which are classified as "public bodies" as defined in section 3 of the Financial Management Act 1994 (FMA). These agencies are required to: submit an annual report to the responsible minister in accordance with the FMA, for tabling or reporting in Parliament; comply with the Standing Directions under section 8 of the FMA; comply with the Financial Reporting Directions (FRDs), which specify how annual reports and other financial management requirements must be prepared, and comply with the FMCF issued by the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF). Standing Directions - Annual Compliance Certification The Standing Directions require agencies to certify that they have complied with all the applicable Directions. Certification of compliance should be made annually to the Responsible Body or relevant delegate (e.g. Audit Committee), Minister for Finance, and responsible Minister, via the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Specifically agencies are required to: conduct an annual review of agencies obligations under these Directions, and identify and rectify any failure or deficiency in complying with these Directions. Certification takes place annually from July to September. Responsibilities of the Board The Board must fulfil a list of requirements including keeping proper financial accounts, risk management, audit requirements, financial reporting, annual reporting and responding to Ministerial requests for information. The Board must note and implement the requirements set out in the Standing Directions. DELWP offers model policies and procedures to assist the Board in complying with the Standing Directions. It is recommended that the Board: adopt these model policies and procedures which are to be adapted to take into account the nature and functions of their agencies, establish any further policies and procedures required (and not covered by these models) to meet the Board s compliance requirements, or have equivalent policies and procedures in place which are consistent with the key principles in these model policies and procedures. 3

6 Further Information Useful links Below are direct links to relevant legislations and rules: Standing Directions for the Minister for Finance: Financial-Management-publications/Financial-Management-Compliance-Framework/Standing- Directions-of-the-Minister-for-Finance; Standing Directions Associated Rules Purchasing Card and Thefts and Losses: Management-Compliance-Framework/Standing-Directions-associated-rules; Financial Management Compliance Framework, including User Guide: Management-Compliance-Framework/Financial-Management-Compliance-Framework; Financial Management Act 1994 (FMA): 46EED9C7CA A3571/1C96E59A79C11194CA F0276/$FILE/94-18a056.pdf; Victorian Government Whistle-blower Legislation: bed958efca ef5/912fa900f9e65fb4ca dd0b7/$file/01-36a021.pdf, and Project Development and Construction Act 1994: 846EED9C7CA A3571/F7B1866E0C4EBA2CCA A4C9B/$FILE/94-101a034.pdf. "The Financial Compliance support module on On Board, DELWP's governance website (from where further copies of this document can be downloaded). On Board ( is a one-stop-shop for DELWP agencies to obtain governance information that is tailored to meet their needs. It also has support modules on key governance topics such as annual reporting, board meetings and decisions, conflict of interest, and gifts, benefits and hospitality. Support modules include model policies and templates, guidance notes, governance guides (e.g. DELWP guide to Annual Reporting - public bodies), and direct links to the topic on other websites (e.g. Victorian Public Sector Commission)." Contact us Finance and Planning Division, DELWP: Name Position Title Work Phone Jack Kyriacou Manager Budget Coordination (03) Allison Wilson Senior Budget Analyst - Portfolio (03) Entities Maral Madani Budget Analyst - Portfolio Entities (03) Standing Directions not covered by these Model These model financial policies and procedures cover requirements in relation to financial administration and management under the Standing Directions. There are other Directions not covered by this Model, which are outlined in Appendix 32. The Standing Directions are given pursuant to section 8 of the FMA. They have legislative force and it is the Board s responsibility to maintain compliance. Therefore, agencies are recommended to ensure compliance with and compliance is reviewed on a regular basis (at least annually) with applicable Directions. 4

7 Financial Management Governance and Oversight Financial Code of Practice (Standing Direction 2.1, Direction Requirement 1) Contents 1. Purpose 2. Policy 2.1. Financial Code of Practice 3. Matters covered under the Financial Code of Practice 3.1. Accountability of public funds Accountability Independence Integrity 3.2. Receiving gifts and benefits 3.3. Declaration of financial and personal interests Conflict of interest Personal relationship with customers and providers 3.4. Secondary employment 3.5. Tendering and procurement process 3.6. Purchasing cards 3.7. Protection and proper use of assets 3.8. Confidentiality 3.9. Fair dealing Reporting of unlawful or unethical behaviour Compliance and reporting 4. Roles and responsibilities 5. Related policies and procedures 6. Reference 7. Definitions 8. Related document Appendix 2 Financial Code of Practice Compliance Checklist 9. Authorisation and approval Document Control Category: Next review date: Version: Approval date: Approval authority: Governing <insert agency name here> 5

8 1. Purpose This policy sets the minimum financial standards of conduct to be followed by the <insert agency name> s employees and contractors in their dealings on behalf of the <insert agency name>. 2. Policy The <insert agency name> s policy is that: <Modify the activities below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> 2.1. Financial Code of Practice The Financial Code of Practice (the Code) forms part of the terms and conditions of employment. It is to be distributed as part of the induction process. New employee and contractor should sign to acknowledge that they have read its contents. The Code is available to all employees and contractors, and is available on <insert where here>. Employees and contractors are expected to: act in the best interest of the <insert agency name>, at all times; conduct all dealings with integrity and fairness, and seek clarification from their line managers if they do not fully understand this Code. Disciplinary action may be taken against employees and contractors who are in breach of this Code. This policy is consistent with the requirements of the Victorian Government Whistle-blower Legislation Matters covered under the Financial Code of Practice <Modify the activities below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> 3.1. Accountability of public funds Accountability Independence Integrity The <insert agency name> has a responsibility to the public, the government and its employees for the administration of public funds. Employees and contractors should prepare and present financial information in a manner that is open and transparent for both internal and external audiences. Employees and contractors must ensure financial information: is accurate and timely; represents a true and fair view of the financial performance and condition of the <insert agency name>, and complies with all applicable legislative requirements. Employees and contractors should perform their duties with honesty and integrity to: protect and preserve the integrity of the <insert agency name> s financial processes and records; ensure the quality of their work; ensure personal matters do not influence official decisions, and report unethical behaviour. The <insert agency name> s arrangements for prevention and detection of fraud and corruption must be kept under constant review, and suspected irregularities must be investigated. The <insert agency name> may apply its disciplinary procedures against employees and contractors who are in breach of this Code. Instances of non-compliance with this Code may be reported through <insert details of the breach reporting process>. 1 This legislation should be referred to in developing policy. 6

9 3.2. Receiving gifts and benefits 3.3. Declaration of financial and personal interests Conflict of interest Personal relationship with customers and providers 3.4. Secondary employment 3.5. Tendering and procurement process Employees and contractors must not accept gifts, that may be construed as, rewards or inducements for directing business towards that body or person. Any monetary gifts handed over to employees and contractors must be passed to the <to be determined by the agency and must be consistent with the agency s enabling legislation and culture>. Goods, vouchers, non-cost payments etc. received from suppliers or agents (other than goods officially ordered) shall be declared to the <to be determined by the agency and must be consistent with the agency s enabling legislation and culture>. This rule is waived in respect of small items that have a value not exceeding $100 <recommended amount, to be determined by the agency and must be consistent with the agency s enabling legislation and culture>, and could not reasonably influence or be perceived to influence decision making. In areas of doubt, advice should be sought from the appropriate manager <to be determined by the agency>. Employees and contractors should also refer to the Official Hospitality Principles issued by the Department of Premier and Cabinet from time to time. Employees and contractors involved in any financial business of the <insert agency name> must declare any financial and personal interests, including those with family, friends or business associates, to their line manager <to be determined by the agency>. Employees and contractors must not influence the awarding of contracts in which they have any interest. Employees and contractors who act as panel members in interview and selection processes must also declare any knowledge they have of candidates to their line managers <to be determined by the agency> at the earliest opportunity. Actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest must be managed in accordance with the <insert agency name> s Employee Code of Conduct Policy and Procedure. Employees and contractors may not undertake employment outside of the <insert agency name> or engage in the conduct of a business, trade or profession without written approval from the Accountable Officer or delegated person. Employees and contractors considering taking up a second post should take into account whether this might conflict with their employment with <insert agency name> and should seek guidance from their line managers <to be determined by the agency>. All tendering and procurement activities must be compliant with the Victoria Government Purchasing Board Guidelines where applicable. (Refer to: the <insert agency name> s Procurement Policy and Procedure for more information) Purchasing cards All usage of purchasing cards must be compliant with the <insert agency name> s Purchasing Card Policy and Procedure Protection and proper use of assets Employees and contractors often have access to facilities, including assets such as computers, telephones, photocopiers and fax machines, in carrying out their official duties. Any excessive personal use of equipment or removal of any assets from the work place is not permitted without management s approval. Any use of assets for personal gains is not permitted under any circumstances Confidentiality Employees and contractors are expected to maintain and respect the confidentiality and privacy of financial information and other matters of a 7

10 financial nature that they come across during the course of their employment. Unless authorised, employees are not to use confidential information for personal use or to benefit another third party Fair dealing Employees and contractors are expected to: deal with issues consistently, fairly and in a timely manner, and use fair criteria, and consider all relevant information in dealing with issues. Being fair means being just and working within commonly accepted rules Reporting of unlawful or unethical behaviour Compliance and reporting 4. Roles and responsibilities The <insert agency name> recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices, and supports the making of disclosures that reveal: corrupt conduct; conduct involving a substantial mis-management of the agency resources; conduct involving a substantial risk to employees or customers health and safety, and conduct that represents a risk to the environment. Employees and contractors should report any behaviour that: violate any legislations, laws, policies and this Code; appear to be corrupt, mis-management of public monies and resources, and could be dangerous to others or the environment. (Refer to: the Victorian Government Whistle-blower Legislation for more information). The Accountable Officer is required to certify that the <insert agency name> has complied with Standing Direction 2.1, specifically: certifying compliance annually to DTF; conducting an annual review of the <insert agency name> s obligations under this Direction, and identifying and rectifying any failure or deficiency in complying with this Direction. <Modify this section below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> Responsible Body Accountable Officer Managers The Responsible Body s responsibilities include: Implementing the Code. Determining that all employees and contractors are required to comply with the Code. Requiring and monitoring, via the Employee Code of Conduct, employees and contractors compliance with the Code. Initiating appropriate actions for breaches of the Code. The Accountable Officer s responsibilities include: Communicating the Code to employees and contractors. Reinforcing the expectations of the Code. Reporting to the Minister for Finance and the Responsible Body for any breach involving the misappropriation of funds, including misuse of purchasing cards. Certifying compliance with the Standing Directions requirements to DTF. The managers responsibilities include: Answering or escalating queries regarding the Code to the Accountable Officer or delegated person. Initiating investigation of all reported breaches. 8

11 Employees and contractors Reporting all confirmed breaches to the Accountable Officer or delegated person. Assisting employees to comply with the Code. The employees and contractors responsibilities include: Complying with all aspects of the Code. Obtaining clarification for queries regarding the Code. Acting in the best interest of the <insert agency name>, at all times. Reporting of breaches to managers. 5. Related policies and procedures This policy is to be read in conjunction with the following policies and procedures: Financial delegations. Physical and intangible assets. Purchasing card. Procurement. Thefts and losses. Conflict of interest (if applicable). Employee code of conduct. Gifts, benefits and hospitality (if applicable). 6. Reference The following legislations apply to this policy: Financial Management Act Public Administration Act Freedom of Information Act Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (replacing the Whistle-blowers Protection Act 2001). Victorian Public Service Code of Conduct. Standing Directions for the Minister for Finance. 7. Definitions Employee Contractors A person employed in any industry, whether on salary or wages or piece-work rates. An employee may be full time, part time or casual. Providers for goods and services or perform work for a set price or rate (e.g. outsourced accounting services, electricians). The contractor may be selfemployed, have employees of their own or have business partners. 8. Related document Appendix 2 Financial Code of Practice Compliance Checklist. 9. Authorisation and approval This policy shall be reviewed on a yearly basis <modify frequency of review, recommended minimum on an annual basis>. The next review date is set out as follows: Reviewer Position Version Date Reviewed Next Review 9

12 Audit Policy (Audit Committee, Internal Audit and External Audit) (Standing Directions 2.2, 2.5 and 2.6, Direction Requirements 4, 7 and 8) Contents 1. Purpose 2. Policy Audit Committee (Standing Direction 2.2, Direction Requirement 4) 2.1. Appointment of an Audit Committee (the Committee) 2.2. The Committee s charter 2.3. Compliance and reporting 3. The Audit Committee s Charter 3.1. Roles and Responsibilities 3.2. Relationship of Committee with management, advisors and experts 3.3. Composition of the Committee 3.4. Administrative matters 3.5. Members qualifications and induction 3.6. Conflict of interest 3.7. Reporting to the Responsible Body 4. Policy Internal Audit (Standing Direction 2.5, Direction Requirement 7) 4.1. An independent internal audit function 5. Policy External Audit (Standing Direction 2.6, Direction Requirement 8) 5.1. Relationship with the external auditor 6. Roles and responsibilities 7. Related policies and procedures 8. References 9. Definitions 10. Related document Appendix 3 Audit Compliance Checklist (Audit Committee, Internal Audit and External Audit). 11. Authorisation and approval Document Control Category: Next review date: Version: Approval date: Approval authority: Governing <insert agency name here> 10

13 1. Purpose These policies are to establish a robust and transparent financial governance body to provide independent assurance and advice to the Responsible Body on the <insert agency name> s risk management, financial reporting, internal control and compliance framework, and financial statements. (Note: Where an agency has obtained an exemption from the Minister for Finance from having an Audit Committee, this policy should be amended accordingly). 2. Policy - Audit Committee (Standing Direction 2.2, Direction Requirement 4) The following table lists the key principles for implementing this policy: <Modify the activities below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> 2.1. Appointment of an Audit Committee (the Committee) 2.2. The Committee s charter 2.3. Compliance and reporting The <insert agency name> s Responsible Body will appoint the Committee to undertake the oversight of: financial performance; the financial reporting process; the scope of work, performance and independence of the internal auditor; the scope of work and performance of the external auditor; the operation and implementation of the risk management framework; matters of accountability and internal control affecting the operations of the <insert agency name>; the effectiveness of management information systems and internal controls, and the acceptability, disclosure of and correct accounting treatment for significant transactions which are not part of the <insert agency name> s normal course of business. The Committee consists of non-executive directors. (Refer to: Para 3.3 Composition of the Committee for further information). The Committee is fully accountable to the Responsible Body. The appointment of the Committee does not release the Responsible Body from its responsibilities. The Responsible Body will approve the charter of the Committee and provide a copy to each member of the Committee. The charter sets out the Committee s roles and responsibilities, composition, structure and membership requirements and is: sufficiently detailed to ensure there is: no ambiguity; clear guidance on key aspects of the Committee s operations, and no overlap in the activities of individual committees. formerly reviewed at least every three years, with recommendations for updates approved by the Responsible Body. The Committee: prepares an annual program detailing the number, date, time and key matters for attention at each meeting, and prepares and circulates agendas and papers in advance of each meeting and in sufficient time for members to read and absorb their contents. The members are required to undertake an annual evaluation of the performance of the Committee and report their conclusions to the Responsible Body. The Accountable Officer is required to certify that the <insert agency name> has complied with Standing Directions 2.2, 2.5 and 2.6, specifically: certifying compliance annually to DTF; 11

14 3. The Audit Committee s charter The following table lists the Audit Committee s charter: conducting an annual review of the <insert agency name> s obligations under these Directions, and identifying and rectifying any failure or deficiency in complying with these Directions. <Modify the activities below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> 3.1. Roles and Responsibilities 3.2. Relationship of Committee with management, advisors and experts 3.3. Composition of the Committee The Committee will carry out the following responsibilities: a) Financial reporting Review significant financial and reporting issues, including complex or unusual transactions and highly judgemental areas, and recent professional and regulatory announcements and understand their effect on the financial statements. Review annual financial statements. Review with management and external auditors results of the audit, including issues encountered. b) Internal control and risk management Ensure that the <insert agency name> has an effective risk management system and that significant risks are reported to the Responsible Body. Address the effectiveness of the internal control, risk management and performance monitoring systems with management and external auditors. Review management s processes for ensuring and monitoring compliance with FMCF compliance certification (where relevant), laws, regulations and other requirements. Obtain regular updates from the Accountable Officer about compliance matters. c) Internal audit Refer to para 4.1 on the Committee s roles and responsibilities in establishing an independent internal audit function. d) External audit Refer to para 5.1 on the Committee s roles and responsibilities in establishing and maintaining a constructive and open working relationship with the Auditor- General and his or her agents. The Committee must have direct access to the internal and external auditors without management present. The Committee must have: direct access to the Accountable Officer/CFAO and management, when required, and the right to seek explanations and additional information. The Committee must be able to seek independent, expert advice to assist it in undertaking its oversight responsibilities. The Committee is to be comprised of at least three (3) and no more than five (5) members. All of whom are non-executive directors. At least two (2) members of the Committee must be independent and they are identified as independent in the <insert agency name> s annual report. The members will elect the Chair of the Committee (the Chair), who is to be one of the independent members of the Committee. Unless exemption has been obtained, the Chair of the Responsible Body must not be the Chair of the Committee. Members will be appointed to the Committee every three (3) years and are eligible 12

15 3.4. Administrative matters 3.5. Members qualifications and induction 3.6. Conflicts of interest 3.7. Reporting to the Responsible Body for reappointment. Membership of the Committee is to be reviewed and confirmed annually by the Responsible Body. The Committee will meet at least four (4) times a year and additionally as the Committee considers necessary at appropriate points in the audit cycle. Two directors or more than half of the members shall constitute a quorum. In the absence of the Chair, the members present will select a Chair for that particular meeting <recommended>. Any matters requiring decision will be decided by a majority of votes of members present. The Committee may invite other people to attend as it sees fit and consult with other people or seek any information it considers necessary to fulfil its responsibilities, i.e. the Committee may meet separately with auditors. All members of the Committee must have and maintain: basic financial literacy; reasonable knowledge of the <insert agency name> s own risks and controls; integrity, objectivity, accountability, honesty and openness; dedication of time and effort; an enquiring mind; independence of judgement; relevant industry knowledge, and business experience in the public or private sector. At least one (1) member of the Committee must have appropriate expertise in financial accounting or auditing. New members will receive relevant information and briefings on their appointment to assist them to meet their committee responsibilities. (Refer to: FMCF user guide - Audit Committee member induction kit (pages 25-26), issued by DTF). A minimum requirement for the members to achieve the prescribed level of competence within six (6) months of membership of the Committee. The Committee s members are invited to disclose conflicts of interest at the commencement of each meeting. Where members or invitees are deemed to have a real or perceived conflict of interest, they will be excused from discussion on the issue where conflict of interest exists. The Chair is to report to the Responsible Body following each meeting by distributing a copy of the minutes including recommendations requiring the Responsible Body action or approval. The Committee will undertake an annual review of its own performance and report the results of that review to the Responsible Body. 4. Policy Internal Audit (Standing Direction 2.5, Direction Requirement 7) The following table lists the key principles for implementing this policy: <Modify the activities below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> 4.1. An independent internal audit function An internal audit charter is to be approved by the Committee and is to: provide for the internal audit function to report to senior management; provide for the internal auditor to have direct access to the Chairman of the Committee; provide for internal audit function to have full, free and effective access at all reasonable times to all records, documents and employees of the <insert agency name> and the right to seek information and explanations, and set out the independent status of the internal audit function and its personnel. 13

16 An annual internal audit plan is to be developed by the internal auditor to address relevant elements of the <insert agency name> s risk profile. The Committee approve the annual internal audit plan. On an annual basis the Committee is to: review the adequacy and focus of the internal audit work plan and its fit with the <insert agency name> s risk profile and the work of the external auditors; review the internal audit function s performance, its authority, the adequacy of its resources and the proposed allocation of those resources; take steps to confirm that the internal auditor has not been unduly influenced by management or experienced any problems with management, and meet separately and privately with management and the internal audit is necessary to ensure free, frank and open communications. In addition the Committee should make appropriate enquiries to: approve and review management s proposals as to how management plans to respond to advice received from the internal auditor and direct management accordingly; monitor actions taken by management to resolve issues raised by internal audit, and advise management to adopt and address the accepted recommendations from internal audit on a timely basis. 5. Policy External Audit (Standing Direction 2.6, Direction Requirement 8) The following table lists the key principles for implementing this policy: <Modify the activities below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> 5.1. Relationship with the external auditor The Committee must take appropriate steps to ensure all members have a clear and detailed understanding of and are satisfied with the: scope of work to be undertaken by the external auditor; audit process, and overall audit approach. All external audit reports including performance audits completed by the Auditor- General or his or her agent are to be considered by the Committee. The Auditor-General or his or her representative is invited to attend relevant meetings or relevant parts of meetings, of the Committee as an observer. The Committee meet with the Auditor-General or his or her agent to: discuss the proposed audit objectives with a view to eliminating duplication of audit activities with the internal audit function; obtain a briefing on the proposed external audit process; understand the Auditor s views on any accounting issues which may impact on the financial statements, and discuss the outcomes of the external audit. The Committee meet privately with the Auditor-General at least once a year to ensure free, frank and open communication. The Committee is to: recommend how the Responsible Body should act on advice received from external auditors and ensure management take appropriate action; monitor actions taken by management to resolve issues raised by external audit; monitor whether accepted recommendations of the external auditors are adopted and addressed by management on a timely basis; investigate the reasons for any material adjustments to the accounts, and 14

17 6. Roles and responsibilities review the impact of actions taken by management intended to resolve issues. <Modify this section to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> Responsible Body The Responsible Body s responsibilities include: Appointing members of the Committee. Approving the Committee s charter and providing a copy to each member of the Committee. Approving changes to the charter as recommended by the Chair of the Committee. Ensuring staff adopt a cooperative and conservative approach with the external auditors on relevant auditing matters. Accountable Officer The Accountable Officer s responsibilities include: Attending meetings by invitation of the Committee. Providing training for newly appointed members. Certifying compliance with the Standing Directions requirements to DTF. 7. Related policies and procedures This policy is to be read in conjunction with the following policies and procedures: Financial delegations. Liabilities, contingent assets and contingent liabilities. External reporting. Internal financial management reporting. Conflict of interest (if applicable). 8. References The following legislations apply to this policy: Financial Management Act Freedom of Information Act Public Administration Act Standing Directions for the Minister for Finance. 9. Definitions Audit Committee s Charter Basic financial literacy Independent The charter provides a blueprint for the Committee s operations. It should be specifically written to meet the needs of the <insert agency name> s operations, financial management, risks, structure and culture. The charter should be clearly articulate the Committee s role and responsibilities, composite, structure and membership requirement, authority as approved by the Responsible Body. With respect to the qualifications of members of the Committee, this is defined as the ability to read and understand financial statements, including the income statement, balance sheet, statement of recognised income and expense and cash flow statement. This may also include an understanding of the following, where the <insert agency name> is subject to: generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP); FRDs; budget memoranda, and Budget and Financial Management Guide published by DTF. All members of the Committee should have access to updated copies of the above material and undertake periodic financial reporting and other relevant updates and training to ensure they stay current as to relevant developments in accounting and finance within the public sector agency. With respect to the Committee, an independent person is one who is independent of 15

18 members the management of the <insert agency name>, and: within the last three years has not been: employed in an executive capacity by the <insert agency name> or a related organisation or been a director after ceasing to hold such employment, and a principal of a material professional advisor or a material consultant to the <insert agency name> or related organisation, or an employee materially associated with the service provider; is not a major supplier or customer of the <insert agency name> or a related organisation or an officer or otherwise directly associated with a material supplier or customer; has no material contractual relationship with the <insert agency name> or a related organisation; has not served on the Responsible Body which could reasonably perceived to materially interfere with the person s ability to act in the best interests of the <insert agency name>, and is free from any interest and any business or other relationship which could, or could reasonably be perceived to, materially interfere with the member s ability to act in the best interest of the <insert agency name>. 10. Related document Appendix 3 Audit Compliance Checklist (Audit Committee, Internal Audit and External Audit). 11. Authorisation and approval This policy shall be reviewed on a yearly basis <insert frequency of review, recommended minimum on an annual basis>. The next review date is set out as follows: Reviewer Position Version Date Reviewed Next Review 16

19 Financial Delegations Policy (Standing Direction 2.4, Direction Requirement 6) Contents 1. Purpose 2. Policy 2.1. Clearly defined financial delegations 2.2. Documentation to support authorisations 2.3. Annual review and approval 2.4. Delegation not to be further delegated 2.5. Scope and level of financial delegations 2.6. Responsibilities of financial delegates 2.7. Restructured positions 2.8. Register, signature and enquiries 2.9. Compliance and reporting 3. Responsibilities in respect of financial delegates 4. Related policies and procedures 5. Reference 6. Definitions 7. Related documents Appendix 4 Financial Delegations Compliance Checklist Appendix 23 Financial Delegations Register Appendix 24 Financial Delegation and Signatory Authority Form 8. Authorisation and approval Document Control Category: Next review date: Version: Approval date: Approval authority: Governing <insert agency name here> 17

20 1. Purpose This policy sets out the financial delegations for the <insert agency name> s Responsible Body to ensure the appropriate level of probity is maintained for organisational expenditure. This policy is to be read in conjunction with other specific financial policies and procedures where relevant. 2. Policy The following table lists the key principles for implementing this policy: <Modify the activities below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> 2.1. Clearly defined financial delegations 2.2. Documentation to support authorisations 2.3. Annual review and approval 2.4. Delegation not to be further delegated 2.5. Scope and level of financial delegations The <insert agency name> s Responsible Body approves financial authorisations covering the: overall financial management of the <insert agency name>, and creation of financial obligations (including contingent liabilities and obligations) on behalf of the <insert agency name>. Financial delegations are assigned to specific positions and can only be exercised by permanent employees of the <insert agency name>. To warrant a financial delegation, employees must: have budget responsibility, and approve at least xx <insert number of purchases> purchases and $x,xxx <insert amount> worth of payments a year, unless there are exceptional circumstances, which would include being the only financial delegate within a particular work unit or location. A financial delegation cannot be given to a contractor or consultant 2. Financial delegations are automatically ceased immediately when the position has a change in title or there is a material change in the duties of the position. A Financial Delegations Register must be maintained by the <insert agency name>. The register contains: list of positions holding financial authority; transaction types (e.g. financing, operational, investing); dollar amounts and caps for transaction and authorisation types; list of employee names holding positions, and specimen signature for each holder of an authorised position. This Financial Delegations Register shall be available to all employees and available on <insert where here>. The Responsible Body annually reviews and where relevant makes changes to the financial delegations. All new delegations changes/additions must be approved by the Accountable Officer or delegated person. A delegation must not be further delegated, nor may a person be authorised to act as an agent for the delegated person, unless there is a formal higher duties assignment. All employees must comply with this policy and the associated Financial Delegations Register when exercising financial delegations to approve: purchases, payments and reimbursements; contracts for acquiring and supplying of goods and services; lease and hire of equipment; 2 As per the Victorian Public Sector Commission: Codes of Conduct, a contractor or consultant cannot be given financial delegation without the agency first seeking an exemption from the Minister for Finance. This is even if the contractor or consultant is performing duties that would typically be performed by a person employed in an executive role that holds a financial delegation. 18

21 2.6. Responsibilities of financial delegates 2.7. Restructured positions 2.8. Register, signature and enquiries 2.9. Compliance and reporting bad debts write-off, and asset disposal. Employees may only exercise financial delegations where they have formally been approved, or hold the delegation by way of their position. All authorisations cease immediately upon the change in name of the specific position or a substantial and material change in the duties of the position. Financial delegates must: understand their responsibilities in relation to obligations of the Standing Directions and Financial Code of Practice; only approve expenditure: up to their delegated limit; within their functional area of responsibility (when exercising a financial delegation attached to their position), and where there is clear purchase documentation and the standard purchasing processes have been followed including contract/tender requirements. (Refer to: the Procurement Policy and Procedure); not split transactions to circumvent financial delegation limits; not approve reimbursement of personal expenses; not provide their passwords to different people, including their assistant; exercise the financial delegations in accordance with the <insert agency name> s Financial Code of Practice and Procurement Policy and Procedure, and not approve payments where there is a perceived or actual conflict of interest. If a position is abolished, renamed or restructured, the delegation should be taken to be a reference to the principal successor to the functions of that position. Employees holding financial delegations must provide specimen signatures to the Finance Manager before the delegations are activated. Finance Manager: maintains and updates the Financial Delegations Register for all approved financial delegations, including specimen signatures; retains the approved Financial Delegation and Signature Authority Forms for a minimum of seven (7) years after the financial delegation is changed or cancelled, and answers queries regarding financial delegations from employees. The Accountable Officer is responsible to ensure internal controls are not compromised where multiple financial delegations are assigned to a single position. On an ongoing basis, the Finance Manager checks that financial delegates have properly exercised their financial delegations. These compliance checks include ensuring that: financial delegation limits were not exceeded; personal expenses were not self-approved; the <insert agency name> s policies and procedures are being followed (e.g. purchasing card, petty cash, bank accounts, procurement); the expenditure is within the financial delegate s area of responsibilities; all original supporting documents (e.g. relating to the cash receipts, payments authorisations, signed invoices, payment runs) are to be sorted by batch number, dated and stored in a secured location for seven (7) years, and 19

22 appropriate account charge codes were assigned to payments. Monthly, the Finance Manager reports all potential breaches of authorised delegations to the Accountable Officer. If a serious breach of delegated authority occurs, the Finance Manager will immediately report this to the Accountable Officer. The Accountable Officer reports all breaches of delegated authorities to the Responsible Body. The Accountable Officer is required to certify that the <insert agency name> has complied with Standing Direction 2.4, specifically: certifying compliance annually to DTF; conducting an annual review of the <insert agency name> s obligations under this Direction, and identifying and rectifying any failure or deficiency in complying with this Direction. 3. Responsibilities in respect of financial delegations <Modify this section below to suit the structure and business needs of your agency> Responsible Body Accountable Officer Finance Manager Employees and contractors 4. Related policies and procedures The Responsible Body s responsibilities include: Establishing and maintaining clear financial delegations to specific positions within the <insert agency name>. Initiating appropriate actions for breaches of the financial authorisations. The Accountable Officer s responsibilities include: Communicating the financial delegations to employees. Ensuring appropriate internal control procedures in-place where more than one financial delegation is assigned to a particular position. Reporting to the Responsible Body any significant breach of delegated financial authorities. Certifying compliance with the Standing Direction requirements to DTF. The Finance Manager s responsibilities include: Maintaining the Financial Delegations Register and specimen signatures. Answering or escalating queries regarding the financial delegations to the Accountable Officer or delegated person. Initiating investigation of all reported breaches. Reporting all confirmed breaches to the Accountable Officer. Assisting employees in compliance with the financial delegations. The employees and contractors responsibilities include: Complying with all aspects of the financial delegations. Obtaining clarification from managers if they have any queries regarding the financial delegations. Acting in the best interest of the <insert agency name> at all times. Reporting breaches to their managers. This policy is to be read in conjunction with the following policies and procedures: Audit (Audit Committee, Internal Audit and External Audit). Revenue - accounts receivable. Bank accounts. Expenditure - accounts Payable. Payroll (if applicable). Purchasing card. Thefts and losses. Financial code of practice. 20

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